Ask any middle school teacher and they’ll tell you one of the hardest parts of their job is keeping their audience – the students – focused and engaged. For the adult trainer, there’s certainly a difference in the audience, but the challenge is exactly the same.
Today, with mobile phones and laptops freely accepted elements of our world (and often seen being used by training audiences), adults can be just as distracted as the average 7th grader. As a result, trainers must themselves put technology to work to make sure trainees stay involved.
One solution to help better engage adult learners is to incorporate interactive instruction as part of a training strategy. While the term can incorporate a variety of instructional styles, there are a few advantages that interactive instruction presents.
First, facilitators who use interactive instruction can more easily assess how well their trainees are processing and mastering information. Second, the two-way communication between the instructor and learners allows the presenter to better adjust the program for a specific group. Finally, interactive instruction both enhances the learning process and can help foster greater focus from trainees.
In a business training environment, audience response technology accomplishes these goals in several ways, the most important of which is encouraging trainee participation by allowing the facilitator to include questions, quizzes and polls to which learners respond using specialized hardware and software. The results of each interaction can then be tabulated and viewed in real time. This not only stimulates trainee engagement, but also encourages discussion and makes the process feel more like a hands-on experience for participants.
On the trainer side, response results collected through the software can be used to confirm attendance, gauge trainee engagement, assess how well they processed the information, grade performance for certifications, and finesse future presentations.